Jordan memorabilia soars in value amid 'Last Dance' nostalgia

The immense global success of the documentary “The Last Dance” amid the coronavirus lockdown has boosted sales of collectibles related to NBA icon Michael Jordan.

Michael Jordan (#23) of the Chicago Bulls takes a jumper against the Phoenix Suns during game five of the 1993 NBA Finals.   -  Getty Images

The immense global success of the documentary “The Last Dance” amid the coronavirus lockdown has boosted sales of collectibles related to NBA icon Michael Jordan, some of which are trading in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“Timing is everything,” says Jordan Geller, a collector who on Sunday will be richer by at least $240,000 thanks to the sale at Sotheby's of a pair of Air Jordan 1 sneakers -- the first model created especially by Nike for Michael Jordan, who made his NBA debut in 1984.

The game-worn pair could set an auction record for sneakers set last year by Nike's Moon Shoe, a pair of which sold for $437,500.

READ| Kobe Bryant helicopter crash post-mortem results published

The various Air Jordans have been popular with collectors for 30 years, along with jerseys and trading cards featuring Jordan -- who won six NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls and is widely considered the greatest player in league history.

Many specialists consider Jordan a key figure in creating the market for collectible sneakers, with only non-sports personalities such as Kanye West or Travis Scott able to compete with him today.

But ESPN's 10-part documentary “The Last Dance” which weaves details of Jordan's entire career through the narrative of the Bulls' pursuit of a sixth NBA title, has ramped up interest in all things Jordan.

“I think this is a game-changer,” Chris Ivy, director of sports collectibles at Heritage Auctions, said of the documentary series that was carried globally by Netflix.

Ivy predicted the interest fueled by “The Last Dance” will continue.

READ| Michael Jordan: 35 years later, his Rookie of the Year campaign remains one of the best

'Iconic, mythical'

On the StockX shoe resale platform, the Air Jordan 1 Chicago model now sells for up to $1,500, compared to $900 in March.

The first episode of “The Last Dance” aired on April 19.

“That could be largely attributable to the documentary because that's a sneaker that's been on the market for years,” says StockX economist Jesse Einhorn.

Likewise, a 1986 Fleer collector's card sold for $96,000 in early May at Heritage, an item that was worth $20,000 to $30,000 at the beginning of the year.

“A lot of people who had sports cards collections as a kid have been frantically going through their attics to find those boxes and those binders,” laughs Geoff Wilson, founder of the Sports Card Investor platform.

“I haven't seen anything like this, where it's well past his career,” Ivy said, noting Jordan retired in 2003.

Support Sportstar


Dear Reader,

Support our journalism — where text and pictures intermingle so seamlessly — and help us scale up your experience as the world changes around us. Your contribution is vital to our brand of uninfluenced, boots-on-the-ground reportage that’s worth your while. Clickbait sensationalism is not for us, but editorial independence is — we owe it to you.

  Dugout videos